Thursday, August 2, 2007

From the District Vaults: T-Rex/Electric Warrior

Reprise 6466
Released: November 1972
Chart Peak: #32
Weeks Charted: 34

Well, this is the group rock and roll fans. I feel it is important to impress on you the ingenuity of these two young Englishmen who have somehow, ingeniously, constructed a rock album that will enter the annals of rock history as one of the most original sounding, unusual sounding, obtusely, cleverly and creatively written albums ever. The sound could only be accurately pegged as "mystic boogie." Marc Bolan and Mickey Finn are the two dinosaurs involved here. Bolan does all the writing, singing, and plays guitar. Finn takes care of the percussion end of things. The rhythms this unique duo create, with the help of various session musicians (who play saxophone, flugelhorn, bass and drums) are devastating.

This is the group's second album on the Reprise label and fifth album together. They were originally on Fly Records in London and later on Blue Thumb where they came out with two albums: Unicorn and Beard of Stars. Tony Visconti has produced all the albums and on Electric Warrior he has coupled the T. Rex sound with an orchestral accompaniment: strings, cellos, bowed string basses which creates a sound so penetrating as to be awesome. But the paramount beauty of T. Rex lies in Bolan's singing and writing. His voice is hauntingly trebly, weird to the extent of being quite beautiful. His style is so unique as to resemble something non-human -- cosmically science fictive if you will. His writing draws upon stunning allusions and brilliant juxtapositions in words and thoughts. There is a duality to what he writes/sings/plays in that a listener can cruise along with the throbbing electric bass and resonant, moody drumming, or he can pay close attention to the lyric and reap a harvest of new insight from what Bolan has to say. At first his lyrics appear nonsensical but, upon a few listenings, one begins to understand the clever, highly individualistic description of reality the writer wants to convey. Bolan's rhyme schemes and word choices are solely unlike anything I have ever heard in rock and roll. He creates his very own special approach to rock that only few, highly creative artists have done. It is almost as though Bolan managed to establish a concept so "foreign" to standard rock and roll while still employing the artifice of the musical genre. He is avante-garde but in very captivating, understandable and inviting way.

"Jeepster," "Mambo Sun," "Cosmic Dancer," "Girl" and "Lean Woman Blues" highlight the eleven cuts on this album with lyrics that are inescapable.

"Jeepster": "You move so fine, with bones so fair, you've got the universe reclining in your hair... Girl I'm just a Jeepster for your love..."
"Cosmic Dancer": "I danced with myself right out the womb, Is it strange to dance so soon?... What's it like to be a loon? I'd liken it to a balloon..."
"Mambo Sun": "Beneath the bebop moon I want to croon with you. Beneath the mambo sun, I want to be the one for you."

There you have a sampling, but without the music integrating with the words, mere reading does not do the group justice. With better promotion and a few American tours under their belts, T. Rex are, without escape, destined to become the very next supergroup of our heretofore doggerel-ridden rock and roll "universe."
(Jay Ehler, Phonograph Record, 1/72)

Deep cuts -- via the Vaults:
T-Rex - Cosmic Dancer (Mp3)
T-Rex - Monolith (Mp3)
T-Rex - Lean Woman Blues (Mp3)
T-Rex - Planet Queen (Mp3)
T-Rex - Girl (Mp3)

No comments: